Why Would Azimuth Ever Need To Be Adjusted?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by jtw, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Well, I think everyone has always agreed that the most accurate way to check azimuth is with test tones and measurements of output signal level; and we know know that perfectly vertical may not produce most equal crosstalk because of possible differences between the two sides of the generator. But in terms of comparison to all these other produced, produced in vast scale on computer controlled assembly lines, it's kind of apples to oranges. You get a high end cartridge and the spec is going to be 0.5 dB channel balance, 30 dB channel separation. But you still have to install it and set it up correctly. You know, you're car engine may be up to spec, but if you don't but the right timing belt in there, it's not going to work right; you watch may be accurate, but if you don't set the right time, it's not going to tell you the right time. The cart may be up to spec, but when you install it you do basic setup for overhang, parallelness, VTF, VTA and azimuth, and to get it just so it may need a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It never occurred to me that azimuth alignment could be such a contentious issue.
  2. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Yes, vinyl is charming! The "live" experience of playing a record can be comparable to the experience of a live event. It is not only the real (or perceived) recreation of a live event, or the excellence of a studio recording, the tangible effect of vinyl is undeniable. I've had the experience of my turntable dialed in, and the visceral effect of sound in my listening room. My claim on this is far reaching, may even have healing power for those who love music.

    I agree with your thoughts on the live event. The synergy at the event does indeed offset our perception of reality.. the electricity in a room is part of the experience. I have as a band member received collective standing -O's, instantaneous vivacious applause. You feel connected, almost like a god, a little of both.

    If placebo is part of the listening experience, and that's the personal experience, then go for it. Truth counts! But music is like a drug without negative side effects. But what exactly is truth? We may eventually be very surprised. Science may be on the threshold of solving the quantum mystery, particle/ wave theory, entanglement, how a particle behaves when we are watching, or sound waves or a stylus tracking a groove.
  3. missan

    missan Forum Resident

    If the production is reasonably OK, most cartridges should be OK regarding azimuth; if top of the cartridge is parallel to the record. They will not be exactly the same, as the azimuth will follow a Gauss distribution, but they will be good enough.

    I just tested an old AT13E, out of curiosity; at 1kHz the cross talk L-R was 26dB, R-L it was 26,5dB. With the cartridge parallel to the record.
    bluesky and chervokas like this.
  4. Wngnt90

    Wngnt90 Forum Resident

    I don't....I am one.
  5. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    The reason it bothers me that the azimuth isn't perfect from the manufacturers is that I used to do some quality control as part of my job.

    Doing quality control by throwaways is only one step up from using your customers to do quality control (complaints and returns). The manufacturing process should be set up in such a way that end product testing could virtually be eliminated. It shouldn't be cost prohibitive, and sales increase as reputation for quality product grows. I would expect that the vast majority of turntable owners don't even know that there is such as thing as azimuth adjustment. So, if one makes a product in which this is consistently optimized, their stuff will sound better to that majority.

    The manufacturing process should first involve defining required tolerances. Then, design a manufacturing process. Using statistical analysis, determine whether the process can produce products within the required tolerances. If not, redesign jigs, or whatever is to be used in the process. Once the process is in place, use statistical process control to monitor the process and give an early warning of potential manufacturing problems.

    It's an approach the Japanese used to change their products from 'Jap junk' to highly regarded stuff.

    The existence of new off-center pressings and cantilevers is just ridiculous. Should never happen.
    bluesky, H8SLKC and The FRiNgE like this.
  6. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    South Bend, IN
    You're assuming people can hear the difference, and yet right there you called out the reason why no company who seeks to be profitable would dare to take on this endeavor - if customers don't know, understand, or appreciate azimuth... why bother? For a few nitwits (me included) on an Internet forum who obsess over details?

    That's bad business, if your assumption is correct - and I believe it to be as well.

    This is why specialized tools are created and can be purchased by us nitwits :)

    PS - I'm not using nitwit to offend, just to call out how different we are from Joe Customer.
  7. missan

    missan Forum Resident

    I agree, I did also work with QC for some years. One problem we´re facing is that many parameters in vinyl playback isn´t speced, and from the makers, if they can avoid, little interest is of course shown to do so. We are talking about components for consumers, where most buyers have no idea.
    It is a very different situation where companies buy from other companies, and both know what they are talking about. Then the QC becomes much more important, as it is then very economical to have a good QC. For vinyl playback, some QC is of course implemented, but most likely for the most apparent issues.
  8. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    The thing is the carts are usually within spec, but spec is somewhere below perfection, and yes, higher priced models usually have better specs. But a lot of the stuff is also made by hand. There are variations from cart to cart and defintely from installation to installation. And I'm not sure the saize of the vinyl market, even with recent growth, which slowed in the start of this year, has convinced many companies to invest in new tooling.

    Off center preasings, well, records are and have always been farther away fro. Perfection than carts.
    The FRiNgE likes this.
  9. mcbrion

    mcbrion Active Member

    And yet again, I am talking about the feeling of the performance. To suggest it's merely 'your psychological experience' just blows my mind that you could even write that on a page. I didn't have ' nostalgia' the first time I heard Aretha: I was 17. Wow. It's insulting that you would suggest that being able to differentiate the emotional power and intensity of genres of music on different formats is no more than a "subjective reaction.'' That's absurd. If it has the soulfulness on digital, I'll hear it. It isn't about the oh-this-song-reminds-me-of-when-I-was-17. It's what the song delivers in the HERE and NOW. And if it delivers it, I hear it. Whichever format it's on. It's just that it's more "real"-sounding on vinyl, with all its inherent distortions, than it is on (CD) digital, when it comes to r&b, or the blues. And keep in mind: I didn't say EVERY vinyl record surpasses EVERY digital record. I specifically said certain types of singing (intense soul, and I believe I said James Brown, Aretha, James and Bobby Purify. I could have added Isaac Hayes to the list). From what I know, as someone who was, until 12 years ago, also an equipment reviewer for several High End magazines, it's sometimes the digital clock that is responsible for how the music sounds. But that's neither here nor there. I'm not an engineer, nor do I want to be. That wouldn't make me knowledgeable about what is soulful and what isn't soulful-sounding. (The Supremes, my favorite female singing group, did NOT sound soulful on vinyl OR digital. Martha and the Vandellas, on the other hand, sound soulful on both. But Motown had such poor recordings, it hardly mattered. You just had to love the music for itself with them.)

    But, I don't really care about the how or the why. I just know that whatever makes Aretha sound like ARETHA is more apparent on vinyl than on digital.

    Bill Porter, who was interviewed about his Elvis recordings, was not a fan of the digital transfers. So, maybe it was the engineer. And, as I am POSITIVE you know, Neil Young detested digital transfers of his music. So, great, you think I'm romanticizing it. I guess this means you think
    Bill Porter and Neil Young romanticized it, as well.

    Surprise: Neil Young still hates digital music • The Register

    Interview with Elvis Presley's Sound Engineer, Bill Porter by Michael Fremer : Elvis Interviews : Bill Porter and Elvis Presley. : 'For Elvis Fans Only' Official Elvis Presley Fan Club

    Here's Bill's thoughts on transistors and digital:
    MF: What was your reaction to the introduction of transistorized electronics?

    BP: Oh man! I hated it!

    MF: Were you forced to use it?

    BP: Yeah! I was forced to use it. I remember RCA senta tape machine down-they were in the tape machine business. It was all solid state. Boy, it sounded like it was running through sand. And I refused to use it. I set it up, and ended up using it as a cue amplifier for head sets! (laughs).

    MF: And you went back to using what you knew was better.

    BP: Yup.

    MF: With that experience in mind, what do you think so far of digital recording?

    BP: My experience with digital-and it's slowing changing ... the first time I heard it I said , 'My, what a harsh, strident sound'. Everybody was saying 'Well ain't that fantastic!'. I said, 'What's fantastic?' 'Look! There's no noise'. I said, 'Well listen to the music! What does that sound like to you?' 'Oh it sounds great!' 'You don't hear that high end?' I said. 'Huh? What high end?' 'That grainy distortion?' 'Oh yeah, I didn't hear that before'. 'Well, listen!'

    MF: We keep hearing that the poor old Westrex cutters used to master all of those old records (we played today) were vastly inferior to what's available today. Yet those old recordings sounded so good.

    BP: Well I worked with those cutters quite a bit. Those cutters work on a feedback principle. And those old Westrex cutters had a resonant frequency that was in the audible range. You had to work to get it out. It was a matter of tweaking to a certain extent. A lot of the old equipment had the potential for tweaking. Nowadays you don't have as many options. It's there, or it's not there. The old equipment had a personality you could doctor. I did a lot of that. Some of it wasn't exactly technically correct, but I listened to what I heard, not what I read on a scope. What I heard is what counted. People don't listen to a scope. You don't say, I like the music because the measurements are great.

    MF: I'm afraid that is done.

    BP: The ear is the final judge. Now if your going to use specifications-the ear can't decode that. I'm afraid what's going to happen is, you're pre-conditioned to what you learn as you grow up-what you hear-and if you don't keep some of the older stuff around as a standard, you're going to have no basis for comparison.

    For now, we'll just have to agree to disagree. Many producers and musicians feel as you do. Peachy.

    What we can agree on is that, as Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell sang, 'ain't nothing like the real thing.'
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
    bluesky likes this.
  10. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    How'd this turn into another digital vs. vinyl thread?o_O And, how did it become a debate out soul music? No, i'm not complaining. Anytime this forum talks about soul music, it's all good!
    Cliff and jtw like this.
  11. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    What I'm saying is that whatever emotional reaction your having to a record or a CD is between your ears, not between the grooves or the pits. Inherently. Not just you. All of us. Records don't possess emotions and neither do CDs. And a different person listening to that same record or CD might, in fact will, have a different emotions inspired by it. It's not part of the format. It's part of the listener.
  12. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

  13. tim185

    tim185 Forum Resident

    Don't posses, but I think mediums can convey them. Sometimes.
  14. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    How do you adjust the azimuth on a cd player?
  15. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    That IS kinda funny, isn't it?

    But, OK, I'm the thread starter. So I'm going to take this opportunity to rant:

    These freaking hipsters are driving up the price of the used vinyl that I want to buy. In order to be cool, they have to spread the word about how much better vinyl sounds. In most cases, it's all in their heads. Their Crosley tables with their mis-aligned, or really, unaligned cartridges sound like crap. But their minds are made up before they even play their first 'vinyls'.

    All of these cartridge and tonearm set-up steps make a difference. I'm guessing most of them know how to balance the tonearm and set tracking and ant-skate, I think. But I get some blank stares whenever I ask them what method they used to set their overhand. Azimuth is not in their vocabulary.

    If I go to a hipsters house, and they have a cd player and a turntable, I can be pretty sure that the cd of the same mastering is going to sound better. Cartridge manufacturers could get ahead of the game buy improving the quality control on the azimuth, and knowing that tons of their customers wouldn't even think of adjusting azimuth, build a reputation as a superior sounding product.
    The FRiNgE likes this.
  16. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Of course, one of the reasons I get blank stares is that I should ask them about overhang instead of overhand.
    George Blair likes this.
  17. bluesky

    bluesky Forum Resident

    VERY carefully.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
  18. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Neither do the squiggly groove modulations. The musical performances have emotional qualities, and we as listeners have emotional responses to everything -- what we're hearing, what we feel about these formats, our social conditioning and expectations related to these formats, etc. But the formats don't have and can't impart emotions.
    Juan Matus likes this.
  19. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    Yes, but they could impart a greater emotional response in a listener when they deliver a more accurate portrayal of the musicians' original performance. Some people feel that an Lp can do that more graciously than a digital CD or DVD playback of the same performance. So the attachment of emotion may not be to the format as much as to the results provided by the format. And of course we all have our own tastes when it comes to what we find beautiful. There are some undeniable commonalities, but then there are some things specific to the beholder. I typically like vinyl and brunettes.
    George Blair likes this.
  20. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Well, then we're on to the question of accuracy, which is different than graciousness. But that attachment, and that "feeling" that one format captures emotion better than another is flat out between the ears of the listener and exists there only, its not endemic in the format itself. If it was, everyone would hear it the same way.
    Juan Matus likes this.
  21. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    No, it isn't that simple either. Sure, emotion is a human trait. But emotional response can be triggered by external stimuli. Not every stimulus affects everyone in the same way or to the same degree. It is therefore not implausible that different characteristics of the same recordings on different formats could influence different emotional reaction levels in the listeners. When I say gracious, I don't necessarily mean a distancing from accuracy, but a sound that is heard as being more real or that evokes more of the emotional response from the listener.
    This can be separate from the subject's connection to or identity with the medium. In short, analog sound can be heard and felt as being more natural (accurate yes or no) to a listener and so bring about a more emotional response than a digitized source might. We can basically make the same argument both ways. It's a chicken or egg concept of sorts as you can of course view the process from either angle. One thing that we can say is true and which shares your thoughts here is that it cannot work the other way, that is the listener cannot effect the recording. That is because it isn't live and so there is no give and take interaction between audience and musicians. That however, does not suggest that the listener's reaction to the recording of that event cannot be impacted by the format on which it is played back.
  22. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Getting this far off track is triggering an emotional response....
    Rolltide likes this.
  23. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Well, of course the emotional response is being triggered by the sensory stimuli -- the sounds, the look of the album, the touch of playing it -- that and all the different emotional and historical personal connections off of that drawn out, etc. All of that is part of the response. But the response is still entirely between the ears of the individual. Some people may hear vinyl as more real, some people may hear all the mechanical noise of vinyl as making it sound inherently less real, or anything in between. I'm not saying the format doesn't impact the emotional response. I'm saying there's nothing about the format that inherently carries a particular specific emotional response. It's completely subjective and not built into the format itself. It's built into the mind of humans. The emotional part of the response to the format is being supplied by the listener, not by the format.
    Juan Matus likes this.
  24. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    Heh heh... What were we talking about?... Sorry, I think we have pretty much covered the initial topic though. The idea of vinyl playback sounding more realistic to some than digital was in fact a tangent (pardon the pun ;)) of the azimuth adjustment discussion. I think that deeper discussion enriches the topic as after all, expression of the artist and captivation of the listener is what it's all about, with azimuth being only a stone in that castle. If we all thought and felt the same way about a topic, there would be no need for discussion with others.
  25. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    It is understood that, as you say, "The emotional part of the response to the format is being supplied by the listener, not by the format." but your conclusion to your hypothesis is in error. You cannot arrive at it being a fact that vinyl playback has no more influence on human emotional response than a digital playback of the same recording simply by stating the the listener is human and the recording is inanimate. Only by observing or having discussion with people who have had this experience can you begin to evaluate the phenomenon, and by doing so, you should not overlook or disregard the input that these people provide as being more intense or "real" when the recording is played back on an Lp. Suggesting that it has something to do with the look, feel, past memories of Lp playback is not irrelevant, but it is in no way proof that the sonics of the format does not have its own impact on the feelings of the listeners. It is still plausible that the sound produced by the format has a direct relationship with the listener experience, even when other aspects of the medium are disregarded. I will not elaborate further on the process as we are Atreading dangerously close to a forbidden discussion topic, and B are irritating the OP. Neither is my intent.

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